When I was my Mum was always adament we would never ever own a dog. She thought they were messy, loud and didn't think anyone would ever bother to walk them. I was brought up with two cats as a result. Both live(d) to ripe old ages, with one recently passing away at age 14, and the other still going strong and healthy at 18 years old. I always considered myself a cat person that is until I saw a little Wesite dog and became immediately hooked. I had first hand experience with a Westie pup, where at about age 11, never having properly interacted with a dog for a long period of time before, I got used to their calm temperment and excellent handling with children. It really helped me to develop from my status as a 'cat person' and become much more friendly to other animals too, as well as dogs. It was this adorable Westie pup that turned my Mum, when I begged and begged, assuring her I would pay for everything (I did, at age 11, I worked daily for 9 months to pay for one and his injections) and care for it conditionally. She was hooked immidiately too and so we went about getting one. The Westie we got was a bubbly, feisty little man called Quincy.
Westies are known for their independence, and very possessive at times, either over their owner or toys and food. They are often very assured and make excellent guard dogs, with Quincy acting as our additional doorbell when a person steps foot into the porch before even ringing the bell. They are very friendly and in my experience love spending time with their owners over all other activities. As much as Quincy loves running about the garden (Westies need plenty of exersise as they are very, very active) his favourite pastime has got to be sitting at someone's feet nudging for strokes, or on someone's lap. As you can tell he is very spoilt, and very much a part of our family.
Our Westie is incredibly stubborn, mostly because of how spoilt he has been. This can sometimes lead to issues with training, but so long as you are persistent, you can overcome this. For some, it is more important that a dog act as a pact animal, but for us this was entirely unwarranted, as we were much more interested in a family addition, over a 'pet' (something I'm sure many will disagree with me for, but that's simply my viewpoint).
Westies are known for their bright white coat, which rarely malts and made up of a thick undercoat with a more wiry outcoat which suits them excellently for harsh weather (as the breed oriented, as you can probably guess, in the Highlands, where weather is much more severe than my London garden!). They have very deep barrelled chests and in my experience produce somewhat deeper barks as a result, compared with other dogs of their size. Additionally, their eyes are a rich brown, their nose black, and they tend to be trimmed with a larger round head distinguishing them from their longer-nosed relative the Scottie.
It is important to give your Westie a health diet. We have tried a number of different foods based on our vets advice, and testing to see which food Quincy enjoys. Mostly, we feed him Cesar, a wet food which is coincidentally advertised by an adorabled Westie too! It is important he receives a high meat percentage, so we are keen to look out for dog foods which are upfront about the type and quantity of meat they use.
Facts and additional info
- The average life-span of a West Highland terrier is between 12 and 16 years.
- Members of the breed typically weigh between 15 and 20 pounds.
- The avergae height of a Westie is about a foot at the shoulders.
- Westies are barkers, it is their natural way of communicating a variety of feelings from happiness, to anxiety, to boredom.